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Recent agitation by leading oil communities associations in Rivers State for Rivers State Oil Community Development Commission, has added fresh credence to trending allegation by the Federal Government in the more than one decade of Niger Delta Development Commssion (NDDC), there had been nothing to equitably show for the volume of funding allocated to the agency.
Currently, the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) and Niger Delta Civil Society Coalition (NDCSC) has urged Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, to as a matter of urgency, set up Rivers State Oil-Producing Areas Development Commission (RSOPADC) to tackle gross underdevelopment in oil communities.
Key background for the new agitation stemmed from the feeling that 13 per cent derivation coming from federation account to the state and other oil producing states is no more enough to cater for the development of oil areas.
According to the President of MOSOP, Mr. Legoborsi Pyagbara, “20 years after the state government started receiving 13 per cent derivation, it had become incumbent on the governor to establish an oil-producing areas commission just like Delta, Ondo, and Imo states, to bring development to the grassroots that host bulk of the oil fields.”
“It is clear that because the people of Rivers, particularly those from the oil-producing areas, had not been stridently agitating for the creation of an oil-producing area commission over the years, the government had assumed that all was well with these communities in terms of human and infrastructural development.
Pyagbara further argued that “Coming from my own area, Ogoni, we have not fared any better. There has not been any substantial difference between the life we lived before the 13 per cent derivation and now. So, we are not faring better because there is no mechanism for accountability. Nobody knows how much is received by this state in terms of 13 per cent. Nobody knows how it is being used and the government is not accountable to anybody.
“But I think it is also time for the government to key into what other people are doing. The state government should create that kind of institution too.”
Corroborating MOSOP’s stand, the chairman of NDCSC, a major oil-producing community of the state, Rukpowu, Anyakwee Nsirimovu decried poor development across oil communities since the creation of NDDC.
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